Whether celebrated at home, at a party, or at a large metropolitan hub such as Times Square, things can quickly get out of hand in the midst of the hype and excitement of New Year’s Eve. There are some common sense things which can be done which will help everyone have an unforgettable night – in a good way, not a tragic one!
There are four particular areas of concern if one plans to enter 2013 safely: food; flames and fireworks; cash and credit cards; and road safety. Tips for each category are provided below.
Food Safety: According to WebMD, over 250 different diseases can cause food poisoning. The hostess of a New Year’s Eve party owes it to their guests to ensure the food they serve is safe. To avoid illness, persons preparing the food should:
- Wash hands before, during and after food preparation.
- Not handle or pet animals while cooking.
- Cook meats and eggs thoroughly to avoid E-coli and salmonella.
- Thoroughly clean utensils and cutting boards after cutting raw meats prior to using them again.
- Keep hot foods hot (140F or above) and cold foods cold (40F or below).
Flame and Fireworks Safety: Mixing flames and alcohol is extremely dangerous. When preparing for a party, keep in mind a portion of the guests will be full of alcohol-inspired energy – feeling invincible but moving clumsily. Avoid potential problems by:
- Not using real candles. Use battery-operated or flameless candles for safe, ambient lighting.
- Keeping fireplace, heaters and fire pit flames under control. Always use safety screens and ensure all seating is at a safe distance from the flames.
- Ensuring anyone shooting off fireworks is sober and observes safe handling.
- Keeping your pets at a distance far enough from the fireworks so they will not be distressed by the sudden, loud noises.
Cash and Credit Card Safety: If celebrating New Year’s Eve at a public place, be aware there are criminals who wait the entire year for this large selection of theft targets. Alcohol tends to alter rational thinking making wallets/purses easily taken, dropped or left behind. To avoid this from happening, try one or more of these tips:
- Consider using cash cards having a limited value or a “no loss” guarantee from the bank issuing it.
- Never leave wallets or purses unattended.
- Set up a tab in advance with a credit card. Lock the credit card in the car, have the designated driver hold it, or keep it in a money belt.
- If the establishment holding the New Year’s Eve celebration accepts pre-payment for the night, you may be able to totally eliminate the need for carrying credit cards or cash.
Road Safety: All drivers must be on hyper-alert on New Year’s Eve. If you do not absolutely need to be on the road New Year’s Eve, it would be a good idea to remain at home. Many New Year’s Eve parties begin at the office or during happy hours in local bars, so just being sober does not guarantee all other drivers are. Develop a safety plan for New Year’s Eve by:
- Assigning a designated driver whether on the road or on the water. The person driving a car or navigating a boat needs to be both sober and ultra-alert.
- Travel to and from the party via a cab.
- Crash at the home of the party host if you cannot afford a cab.
- Ask a sober family member to provide drop off and pick up for you.
- Travel with a party bus that delivers right to the front door.
- If someone is really intoxicated, do not allow them to drive or leave with someone they do not know.
- Whether driving or riding as a passenger, wear a seatbelt.
Use these tips to look out for yourself and for your family and friends on New Year’s Eve. Having this safety net around you will help you usher in 2013 safely and without incident.
Happy New Year!